Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden XXXII
Chapter 32: The Exams, Begin
Registration day has come for the Chuunin Exams, dozens of shinobi, native and foreign to Konoha are seen throughout the village. The Chuunin Exams brings a certain level of fear with the dozens of foreign shinobi entering Konoha, yet it also brings a sense of pride. The shinobi nations from all over come together twice a year to hold these exams in the tradition of building international friendship.
The sun does not yet peek over mountains as darkness still remains in the early morning of Konoha. In the dark of Konoha a sudden mist begins to roll in unnoticed near the main gate. The mist covers a wide range and the night guards protecting the gates pick up on the ominous feeling that's brought in with the mist.
“Something's not right.” One of the guards says. The mist rolls on thick suddenly and both the shinobi get on their guards. “This is Kirigakure's hidden mist technique.”
“Get close!” The two shinobi get back to back with one another to avoid being separated. Suddenly the mist in front of the face of one of the shinobi begins to stir and it creates a face right in front of him. Before the shinobi can say anything the face blows a breath of cool air in the shinobi's face, sending him into a daze. A moment later the same face heads to the other shinobi and does the same and the two shinobi are rendered unconscious.
Footsteps are heard walking past the two bodies. As the mist begins to clear three shinobi baring baring white porcelain masks with the Kirigakure insignia on them stand. “Very good.” Another Kiri shinobi says coming from the shadows of the gate. The shinobi doesn't ware a mask however his pupils are white and clouded. The blind shinobi donning a Kiri headband on his forehead with a long black ponytail turns to his students. He stands tall as he holds long katana out in front of him. “Lets get going.”
The sun rises only a few moments later and the two Konoha shinobi come too as the light shines on their face. They find themselves alone, standing where they previously stood before the mist appeared. Their memories of the past few moments are nothing more then a blur.
~Several Hours Pass~
By mid-morning the registration begins. All participating teams are to report to the Konoha academy and sign themselves in to take part in the exams. Just outside the academy, Jiraiya and Hi wait for Hime as she runs late.
“Damn it where is she?” Jiraiya mumbles under her breath. Just then Hime appears walking towards her two teammates with a gentle smile on her face. “Where have you been, you're going to make us late for the exams.”
“Lighten up we still have well over an hour left.” Hime says rolling her eyes at her brother.
“Just what were you doing that took you so long. You left the house hours ago and you're just now showing up. Honestly I've never seen you get up so early, for anything.” Jiraiya complains.
“I was out doing our team a service for your information blonde.” Jiraiya clinches his fist as a vein pops in his head. “Remember that ninja from the other day, the one with the fancy genjutsu?”
“What about him?” Jiraiya asks.
“Well I found him and his team, all three of them are strong I can just tell by the way their chakra was flowing. It was so smooth, well disciplined and versitile for the most part...and this one guy had some pretty amazing chakra I mean it was incredible.”
“So you almost made us late to go googoo eyes on an enemy? We could have scoped them out along with the rest of the competition when they got here!” Jiraiya complains.
“Well, about that. I don't think they'll be coming any time soon.” Hime says.
“What did you do?”
“Well they were sleeping so peacefully and I didn't want anybody to disturb them.” She says sarcastically. “So I gave them a little bit more incentive to sleep.”
“Genjutsu...you thought genjutsu would work on those guys?” Jiraiya asks.
“I saw this guy's chakra, I was reading him like a book, that level of genjutsu he used on us was about the best he could do and I didn't sense any other hidden abilities like you said Hi thought, this guy didn't seem to have anything else special about him.” Hime says confidently. “The level I used was much higher then what he could handle and their sensei wasn't around so I had the best opportunity.”
“You idiot you shouldn't have done that, that's not the way to win.” Jiraiya yells.
“Hey I was just getting some payback for us for that guy trying to trick us and acting all smart and everything. Besides sabotage is encouraged for shinobi. If they couldn't get past it then so be it, they don't need to be here then.” Hime says defensively.
“Dad always said that's such a cowardly way to fight.”
“And sensei said shinobi use everything in their power to defeat their opponents.”
The two siblings bicker again just as three shinobi walk past them into the academy. Hi sighs at his teammates fight but then notices the shinobi. “Uhh, Jiraiya, Hime.” Hi says trying to get their attention. The two completely ignore Hi and continue on with their argument. *Nobody listens to me*
The two siblings eventually cool down after several minutes and they head into the academy. As they hand in their registration forms they head to the testing room to wait for the first exam to be announced.
“What do you mean you're not letting us through?” The group hears as they walk up through the stairs. They see several shinobi standing in front of a door with two shinobi standing in front of it.
“We said we weren't letting you through and that's that.” One of the shinobi says. The one shinobi attempt to attack the two blocking their way but he's easily subdued.
Jiraiya, Hime and Hi continue on their way up past that floor, “Don't they realize it's an illusion?” Hime whispers to her brother.
“Don't worry about it, it doesn't concern us.” Jiraiya says.
“Oh so when they do it it's alright but when I do it I'm suddenly cowardly shinobi right?” Hime complains.
“That's right.” Jiraiya says smirking at his sister. She stomps her foot on the ground and scrunches her face and sticks her tong out at her brother. They make it to the third floor and proceed into the testing room but are stopped by a shinobi waring a proctor's get up.
“Sorry, you guys will have to go into the room next door, this one's reached it's full capacity.” The proctor says.
“There's really that many people taking the exams?” Jiraiya says in minor awe. The three head into the next room and see that it's filled with dozens of shinobi already. “This is one of the hugest turn outs I've seen, and there's still so many more people who are coming.”
The three walk through the room exchanging glances at other genin, their stares all filled with hostility and seriousness. “Everybody's so uptight here.” Hime says plainly.
“Yo.” The three shinobi hear to the left of them. Jiraiya and Hime widen their eyes as the turn to see Koji and the rest of his team sitting at one of the desks. Koji holds his hand up waving at the three.
“What the hell, I thought you said you put them to sleep?” Jiraiya says to Hime angrily.
“I did! I don't know how they got out or how they even past us!” Hime says.
“They walked right past us while you two were arguing.” Hi says. The two shinobi turn to their bleak teammate. “I tried to tell you two but you ignored me so I didn't bother.” Hi says plainly, however both his teammates look at him with no sympathy as they can tell he sulks.
“You, how did you break out of my jutsu?” Hime says pointing at Koji.
“You're what?” Ryoko says with anger, unknowing of the incident. She grips one of her blades and Hime begins to activate her Byakugan. Koji puts his hand on Ryoko's and looks into Hime's eyes.
“You assumed because of the level you thought you saw in me when you were snooping, that I was weaker then you in genjutsu. You thought your level would work on me but as you can see it didn't.” Koji says.
“But how can that be, I saw it with my Byakugan, everything I—”
“Oh please girly.” Koichi says leaning his head back. “My brother's been submerged in genjutsu practically since he was born and I'm pretty sure he's fought some way stronger genjutsu users then you.” Koichi waves his hand taunting her. Hime and Jiraiya grip their fist, feeling mutual anger and embarrassment. “Koji can smell genjutsu a mile away, it's kinda pointless to try and use it on him.”
“Told you.” Jiraiya says under his breath.
“That still doesn't answer my question as to how you—”
“I can't tell you because I don't even know but Koji is—”
“Koichi, shut up before you announce out loud everything we can do.” Koji says. Koichi looks around and sees several eyes and heads shifted towards them, paying attention to the conversation. “I won't give away anything more then what's already been said, just know that I know the limits to those casting abilities of yours and I'm not much worried about that...however, fortunately for you I don't know what else you have up your sleeve yet.”
“My, my you guys certainly are starting off these exams rather interestingly.” A voice says. The group of six turn to see an Iwa shinobi with slicked back brown hair walking towards them. “My name's Lee, and you are...Jiraiya Uzumaki, Hime Hyuuga and Hi Aburame right?” He says referring to the three Konoha shinobi.
*Uzumaki? So I was right* Koji thinks to himself.
“How do you know our names?!” Jiraiya says in a demanding tone.
“I know just about everybody's name here. Koichi and Koji Shichiyo.” He says pointing to the two twins. “and you're Ryoko Taiyou.”
“Who are you?” Koichi asks in the same tone as Jiraiya.
“Lee, the information broker.” Koji says.
“Well, well it seems like I've got a little bit of a reputation for myself here.” The Iwa shinobi says.
“An information broker?” Koichi asks.
“That's just his title, he's a solo genin who is always dispatched to missions in various nations, while on his missions, he's collects data on people and other things of interest.” Koji says.
“Well I think everybody and everything is...interesting, sadly you can only do so much in a limited time frame, but it helps even if I just get to talk to a few people. I'm glad to see you remember me Koji-kun.”
“How do you know this guy? Koji?” Koichi asks.
“During my training in the hospital, I met him on a mission coming to receive some medical supplies for Iwagakure and we got to talking.”
“Yeah, a fun fact about me, I have a special ability, it's not really helpful outside of gathering info but I can decipher things in my head based on what people say. It's sort of like I can encrypt messages from speaking to somebody that they don't even know they're giving away. I don't really mind sharing, because I can do the same just by looking at people. You have no idea how much you give away through body language even when you're just standing.” The upbeat attitude of the shinobi is strange in the presence of the others. The tension in the room is so serious and packed together.
“It doesn't help much to figure things out and then not be able to do much about it. It's like knowing how you're going to die and not being able to do anything...well in some cases.” The shinobi laughs scratching his head in the awkward moment.
“Anyway this is the largest turn out in the exams, as far as I can remember. I took the exams once last year and I couldn't even make it past the first round. Coming back this time around, see all these people, it's sort of intimidating if you think about it.”
“I like this guy!” Koichi says. “He's a little weird but his aura is just fun.” Hime puts her hand to her forehead and shakes her head.
Lee laughs and scratches his head nervously “Well thanks I guess. Anyway I better get back to my team I think things are going to start soon. Good luck you guys...you'll need it.” Although his tone was upbeat the last three words he uttered sent a cold chill up the spines of the six shinobi.
“Yeah...he's weird alright.” Jiraiya says.
“There's something off about him.” Ryoko says. Jiraiya and his team turn to her as well as Koichi and Koji. “In the whole time I was looking at him, I couldn't get a single reading on his chakra, not one bit. It was as if he had no chakra at all.”
“That's impossible.” Hime says. She uses her Byakugan and turns back to Lee. As she looks into his body she notices no flow of chakra through his chakra points. “She's right, not an ounce of chakra, everything else is normal though.”
“He could just be suppressing his chakra to avoid people like us from reading him, ever think of that?” Koichi adds in.
“No only shinobi with sensitive chakra affinities can even hope to have a level of control that will let them hide their chakra. Even if this guy is crazy with the control a technique like that can only fool those with the basic sensory techniques. With those techniques, the chakra doesn't vanish from the body, it's just camouflaged view. The Byakugan can see into the body. So if she can't see a bit of chakra inside of him it means...”
“It means this guy has no chakra period.” Hime says cutting off her brother. Just then doors fly open in the room and several Konoha shinobi in plain gray jackets and pants walk through the room and align themselves all over, both sides of the room, the back and the front. The last two people to enter the room are two women, both waring white robes. The younger of the two has long black hair while the older one has long dark blue hair. Both have the same eyes as Hime and Jiraiya however. Koichi looks down at the two and then turns his head to the two siblings. He turns back to the two women and then again to the two genin and continues to do this several times until Ryoko smacks him in the head. The black haired women holds a sleeping baby in her arms and waits to the side as blue haired woman heads to the podium.
“My apologies everyone.” The woman says in a soothing tone. “There was a much bigger turn out this time around then we expected. We had to make some adjustments to the tests. My name is Hinata Hyuuga, this is my younger sister Hanabi and the beautiful baby in her arms is my son Nagato. I want to welcome you all to Konoha.” Hinata smiles to all the faces in the room, however the tension still remains serious. “Traditionally, we hold three tests in the Chuunin Exams, but considering that we have a total of 100 teams participating this come around, we are hosting four exams. The first of which will be a preliminary elimination round, where we will eliminate half the teams in order to accommodate the next three.”
As Hinata says those words, despite her soothing demeanor it still thickens the tension, adding worry to several of the shinobi in the room.
“My sister Hanabi will be organizing the preliminary round and I will be organizing the second round, but first we'll need everybody to follow us to the courtyard in the back of the academy.” Hinata leaves the podium and exits the door, followed closely behind by Hanabi. The genin are instructed to leave before the proctors. Once they're outside, the entire back of the academy is filled with dozens of shinobi scattered throughout the field. Hanabi hands baby Nagato back to Hinata and heads to the front of the crowd.
“You're first test.” Hanabi pauses as she shifts her head, looking at all the teams. “Is a rescue mission.” As she says this she activates her Byakugan and suddenly several shinobi shoot up from the ground, grabbing several of the genin and pulling them underground. The shinobi shoot up at amazing speeds catching virtually all the genin off guard. Koji and Ryoko are caught and dragged down leaving only Koichi left. All the shinobi react with shock and confusion as one or two of their teammates are abducted. Hanabi notices few groups managing to quickly evade the abductions. “If any group still as all three of their members come to the left side of the field.”
Only about five teams make their way to the left side of the field, of them are Lee and his Iwa team, Masaomi and his team, and the team of masked Kirigakure shinobi. “Those who have successfully prevented their teammates from being captured have passed this first preliminary exam. For the rest of you who are experiencing one or two of your teammates missing, you're exam is still going. Several of the abducted are being taken to the boarders that surround Konoha while some others are simply being hidden in locations around or inside the village. Your job is to find and rescue your teammates and return here before the maximum team capacity of 50 is reached, or before nightfall, whichever comes first.”
*Damn it, this is not good* Koichi thinks to himself *Ryoko is the sensor of the group, without her I'm a sitting duck. How am I supposed to find them?*
“These are the rules for this first preliminary exam. For the shinobi who find that their teammates are being taken to the boarders, you must find your comrades and save them before they reach the boarder. In a real situation if taken past the boarders of your land you won't have legal jurisdiction to leave without permission. So if your teammates pass the boarder, you and your team will be disqualified. For the shinobi who find their teammates being hidden, you will need to rescue your teammates secretly meaning avoiding conflict. They will be under constant watch by one of the proctors who's abducted them. This is a case of ransom, if you blow your cover your comrades would be killed. If you blow your cover, the proctors will spot you, your test will end there.”
“How are we supposed to figure out which set of rules apply to us?” A shinobi asks in a panic.
“That's up to you to figure out.” Hanabi says. “And I'd think about figuring it out soon.”
Hanabi walks back into the academy, leaving the genin participants in a deep sense of concern. The Chuunin Exams have officially begun.